Sharps Injuries among Employees of Acute Care Hospitals in Massachusetts, 2002-2007

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, USA.
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 4.18). 06/2011; 32(6):538-44. DOI: 10.1086/660012
Source: PubMed


Sharps with engineered sharps injury protections (SESIPs) have been found to reduce risk of sharps injuries (SIs). We examined trends in SI rates among employees of acute care hospitals in Massachusetts, including the impact of SESIPs on SI trends during 2002-2007.
Prospective surveillance.
Seventy-six acute care hospitals licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Employees of acute care hospitals who reported SIs to their employers.
Data on SIs in acute care hospitals collected by the Massachusetts Sharps Injury Surveillance System were used to examine trends in SI rates over time by occupation, hospital size, and device. Negative binomial regression was used to assess trends.
During 2002-2007, 16,158 SIs among employees of 76 acute care hospitals were reported to the surveillance system. The annual SI rate decreased by 22%, with an annual decline of 4.7% (P < .001). Rates declined significantly among nurses (-7.2% per year; P < .001) but not among physicians (-0.9% per year; P = .553). SI rates associated with winged steel needles and hypodermic needles and syringes also declined significantly as the proportion of injuries involving devices with sharps injury prevention features increased during the same time period.
SI rates involving devices for which SESIPs are widely available and appear to be increasingly used have declined. The continued use of devices lacking SI protections for which SESIPs are available needs to be addressed. The extent to which injuries involving SESIPs are due to flaws in design or lack of experience and training must be examined.

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